Sometimes people realize the need for a concrete floor in certain parts of their home. This is not out of place. But before you do that, it is important that you have a plan. Laying concrete is not something anybody should just jump into without some basic knowledge. If you have some natural ability in carpentry and masonry then, you may be able to do it yourself. But this cannot be achieved without the right tools, materials and right plan. If you don’t have these then it is best you hire a professional to do this job.
Experience have shown that people who do not have the idea of laying concrete end up wasting a lot of money, energy and time and in some cases, they still have to hire a professional to correct their mistakes after they have wasted so much.
Concreted is a popular and perhaps, the most versatile material in building and construction. When Concreted is allowed to dry and harden it is durable and strong. However, when hydrated prior to hardening it can be easily set to take any shape.
This characteristic of concrete makes it possible for the building houses, swimming pool, walkway and many others. In fact, Concreted is indispensable in building, refurbishments and maintenance of the home. Furthermore, the strength and durability of concrete’s lies in the adherence to the correct proportion of constituents and mixing.
To produce durable and strong concrete the recommended proportion of constituents is as follows;
- Cement 10 – 15%
- Water 10 – 15%
- Aggregates 60 – 75%
Aggregates used are normally sand and gravel. The quantity of the cement plays a vital role in holding the aggregates together and making the mixture strong and smooth. Laying concrete is not something that should be done without proper planning. The level of planning depends on where the concrete is to be laid and the size of the area to be filled or laid. Before you engage in this, you should ask yourself questions such as;
- Where the concrete should be laid?
- How large is the area?
- Are you going to buy mixed or use pre mixed concrete?
- How much do you know about concrete, and if you don’t know much, who to hire?
Large areas that need to be laid will need a lot of preparation. For big areas, you will probably need ready mixed concrete. Ready mixed concrete are preferable in this case. This is also necessary when laying a floor that is more than one cubic meter. You could as well, rent a cement mixer and lay the concrete in batches. As you read on, you will find useful tips on perfectly laying concrete in your home.
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Prepare the area
Preparing the floor to be laid with concrete is very essential. The durability of your concrete depends on the preparation. A couple of things that you will need to do are;
- Make the soil compact. This can be achieved easily by using Jumping jack. You will probably be renting that. Ensure that the area is compact.
- It is important that you know the size of the area to be laid. Measuring the area will enable you have an idea of how much concrete that you will be needing.
- In some areas the soil might be too soft. This will require some soil testing. You will need the services of a professional to have your soil tested in order to determine the compaction of the soil.
- Ensure that the soil is tampered evenly.
After the preparation of the soil, the next stage is to lay gravel on the area. The amount of gravel will depend on the type of structure that you intend to erect and the type of soil. Usually about 2 inches of sand is levelled on the gravel. Other barriers such as water proof and vapor proof are added as the case may be.
Introducing Reinforcement bars
In some instances concrete may be intended to carry heavy load while in other cases they may carry light load. In cases where concrete will carry light load there may not be the need to put reinforcement bars. However, it is should be well thought out, because of safety in the home. Appropriate bars are necessary in areas that will carry heavy load. The size of the bar will depend on the intended carrying capacity of the floor. It is wise to confirm the appropriate size of bars and space of the bars apart from a professional. It is also important that the rebar are propped with dobies.
Time to pour the concrete
As was stated earlier you need to decide before now whether to use hand mixed concrete or ready mixed concrete. Both options can serve the purpose. Though each option has its own advantage and disadvantage. However, depending on the size of the floor, using a wheel barrow to dump the concrete at the site appears to be easier than the use of concrete pump hose which is very difficult to handle for those who have not used it before.
Nevertheless, it is very important that the concrete is plastic and pliable when you pour. Start laying the concrete from a corner and take the level as you spread to the rest of the area. Level the concrete poured evenly with the aid of a rake. Screed the concrete and bull float after doing that. Allow the moisture from the concrete to evaporate before the final float. It usually takes a little over 1 week for the concrete to cure and harden totally but, before then, water and always keep the new concrete moist and cool to avoid cracking due to sudden drying by heat.
Finally having the floor of your home laid with concrete can be nice and fun, though it can be challenging as well. Doing it yourself is good but, use a professional if you cannot.
Budgeting for Concrete Flooring
Ultimately, the cost of concrete flooring will depend on a number of different factors, and it is important to keep track of your home improvement project to make sure everything is carefully budgeted for. In respect of concrete flooring, you need to think about at least some or otherwise all of the following:
- What is the size of your new floor? Have you figured out the exact measurements? Is it just the one floor, or are you planning on having concrete laid throughout the entire downstairs of the property?
- Do you want concrete laid on just the interior or exterior of your property, or both? Do you want the same kind of concrete for the base of your home flooring and garden and driveway?
- Now you know the exact measurements, will you be paying for the concrete by every square metre, or have you found a ‘bulk buy’ deal where a contractor will reduce the cost depending on how much concrete you plan on purchasing?
- What about your property itself? Is it structurally sound and able to cope with a completely new concrete floor? Will any walls or ceilings have to be pinned first? How much extra will this cost?
- Do you want the flooring polished on completion, or do you plan on doing that yourself? Polished concrete can cost a bit extra, but it makes the floor more durable on impact and easier to clean.
- Finally, do you want a decorative finish to your concrete? This usually includes a polish but also a final layer or pattern to the design, to help complement your interior decoration. Is this completely necessary, or will you be laying your own flooring or lino upon completion of the job?
It might sound like a lot to think about, but all of these different considerations will affect the final price of your concrete flooring installation.
Cost of Concrete Flooring
So what sort of price band shouyld you looking at when laying concrete? Well, because of the number of things you have to consider before installation, and the number of different flooring contractors on the market, there is no way of giving an exact figure to this request. The following websites do, however, list some prices that might help you form some kind of preliminary budget:
- www.skimcoat.co.uk – £20-150 per square metre.
- www.whiteandreid.co.uk – £60-400 per square metre.
- www.homebuilding.co.uk – £7550 for materials, labour and installation for the lower floor of an average-sized semi-detached property.
*All prices sourced from respective websites and rounded to the nearest pound. Accurate as of February 2015.
While these figures can help you plan ahead, there’s no reason you should treat them as the definitive price for a new concrete floor. Instead, ring as many different flooring suppliers, contractors and builders as you can to get a table of quotes that can be accurately compared before you sign any kind of contract. You never know, you might even get some free maintenance care and advice to go along with your brand new concrete floor!